UFC Fight Night 239 Predictions

UFC Fight Night 239 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.

Main Card

Tai Tuivasa vs. Marcin Tybura

Tuivasa will be hoping to reverse his fortunes on Saturday night after having lost his last three fights, with two of those coming via knockout, while the other was by submission. To do so he’ll have to defeat Marcin Tybura, who is coming off a 73 second TKO loss to Tom Aspinall, but had won seven of his previous eight fights.

The 30-year-old Tuivasa will draw confidence from the fact that he also went on a three-fight losing slump in the UFC several years ago, yet managed to dig himself back out of that in impressive fashion by winning his next five fights via strikes.

Whether he’s winning or losing Tuivasa has stuck to his role as a heavy-handed slugger who will throw in the occasional heavy leg kick too and is more fleet-of-foot than you’d expect from someone whose favorite pass-time is drinking beer from random people’s shoes and has the physique to complement that. He has some of the biggest power in the division, but due to his belief in his ability to finish fights he does tend to just wade into danger looking to land the knockout blow first, which inevitably hasn’t always gone his way. Tuivasa lacks a plan B when his striking doesn’t work out and his kill-or-be-killed approach means he’s only ever been to the scorecards once in his entire 20-fight career.

By way of contrast the 38-year-old Tybura has a more methodical, workmanlike approach that relies on a reasonably well-rounded skill-set to get the job done. He lacks athleticism and his opponents heavy hands, but he has solid cardio and will mix things up between striking, clinch-work and wrestling, while presenting a threat via submissions and ground-and-pound if he can get the fight to the mat.

A red flag for Tybura is that he has had trouble with hard-hitting strikers in the past, and indeed is coming off a TKO loss, so while the fight favors him the longer it goes I think Tuivasa will land big early to seal a knockout victory.

Pick: Tai Tuivasa wins by KO in Rd1.

Bryan Battle vs. Ange Loosa

Ex-TUF winner Bryan Battle has gone on to put together a 5-1 run in the Octagon so far and now fights Ange Loosa, who came up short in his 2022 UFC debut, but has compiled back-to-back wins since.

There’s not much fanfare for recent TUF winners these days, but the 29-year-old Battle has still managed to show that he belongs with a series of solid performances. He won the show at 185lbs, but a move down to 170lbs after a couple of fights seems to have been a wise move as he’s looked faster and more impactful since, including a 44 second head kick KO against Takashi Sato and 14 second knockout against Gabriel Green, followed by a submission finish against A.J. Fletcher. Whether he can keep up that kind of finishing prowess and win-rate as the quality of opponent increases remains debatable, but Battle does also have good cardio and durability when he has to go the full 15 minutes.

We’ll only truly know where Battle’s ceiling at 170lbs is once he starts fighting ranked opponents, so given his record it’s a bit surprising that he’s instead facing another unranked fighter here in the 30-year-old Loosa. He too is someone with some potential though as he’s a strong physical specimen, though he will be giving up 3″ in height and reach here. Loosa has a capable mix of striking and wrestling though despite his imposing physique he’s not proven to be a big finisher and instead has actually gone more than seven years without claiming a stoppage win. It should be stressed his strikes are still impactful though and he also has not been stopped himself by either strikes or submission in his career so far.

These two are respectable all-rounders, but I feel like Battle has harnessed his potential more at this stage and while I think he might find it tough to get a finish here, he’ll be able to keep up a good work-rate, beat out Loosa in the striking exchanges and hold his own on the canvas to secure a victory on the scorecards here.

Pick: Bryan Battle wins by decision.

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu

With three losses in a row Ovince Saint Preux is in dire need of a win when he fights Kennedy Nzechukwu, who by way of contrast had been on a three-fight winning run prior to suffering a TKO defeat in his last Octagon appearance.

It’s perhaps surprising that the UFC have still kept OSP around given that he’s coming off a six-month suspension for using a tainted supplement, is now just a month shy of his 41st birthday and has been finished via strikes in three of his last four fights. Despite a long run in the UFC, Saint Preux has never seemed to be able to put together a cohesive, effective fighting style and despite his clear athletic potential has often turned in underwhelming, low-output performances. There were glimmers of what could have been when he went through a phase of showing solid work on the mat and delivering the rare Von Flue choke on several occasions, but in recent years it feels like he’s become aimless and just showing up to collect his pay.

If that’s the case on Saturday night then he could be in for a tough night as the 31-year-old ‘African Savage’ Nzechukwu is still hungry for success and is going to bring the fight to him. OSP generally enjoys a reach advantage at 80″, but that’s actually not the case here as Nzechukwu is massive for the division with an extra 2″ in height and 3″ more in reach. He’s not the most technical striker though he will look to implement the jab and everything he lands carries thudding power. Nzechukwu will also mix things up by looking to use his wrestling, while his takedown defense is solid too and he has good durability.

Nzechukwu has a tendency to start slowly but he will build over time, and that will be a problem for OSP, who tends to just try to coast through his fights doing as little as possible. The veteran also won’t be able to rely on his length to keep the fight at an advantageous range for him, and with his chin now being increasingly suspect I think Nzechukwu will capitalize by picking up a head of steam in the second round to deliver a knockout finish.

Pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu wins by KO in Rd2.

Pannie Kianzad vs. Macy Chiasson

Five years ago this match-up served as the final for TUF Season 28, with Macy Chiasson beating Pannie Kianzad by submission on that occasion. Since then both fighters have compiled very similar records, with each going 5-3 and coming in off two losses in their last three fights.

It’s worth noting the last time they fought it was at 145lbs, but this time it’ll be 135lbs. That’s significant as the 32-year-old Chiasson has struggled to make weight even at 145lbs in the recent past, so there are question marks about how she’ll fare back down at bantamweight. Chiasson will have a distinct 4″ height and 3″ reach advantage here and she likes to use her size to bully her opponents, swarming them with punches and roughing them up with dirty boxing in the clinch, though it was her ground game that got the better of Kianzad in their first fight.

The 32-year-old Kianzad has good boxing but lacks power, having not finished a fight in the last decade. That means she has a lot of three-round experience though and has proven to have the cardio to maintain a solid pace throughout, while her grappling has improved to an extent since they last fought.

It’s hard to say how Chiasson’s weight cut will go and how that’ll effect her performance, but though a draining cut could favor Kianzad the later the fight goes, I think Chiasson’s size and strength are still going to be big factors in the clinch and on the mat here, enabling her to once again emerge victorious via submission in the second round.

Pick: Macy Chiasson wins by submission in Rd2.

Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bryan Barberena

After three defeats in his last four fights Gerald Meerschaert now fights someone in a similar spot as Bryan Barberena has lost in his last three Octagon appearances.

The 34-year-old Barberena’s decision to move up to 185lbs in his last fight was a curious choice as he seems a bit undersized and soft around the middle in this weight class. On Saturday night that leaves him giving up an inch in height and 5″ in reach to a much more natural middleweight in Meerschaert. Barberena is a pressure-heavy, durable brawler who relies on his toughness to outlast his opponents, which feels like it’ll be tougher to achieve up at middleweight, while beyond that he’s fairly limited and has particularly poor takedown defense.

The 36-year-old Meerschaert is a crafty, well-rounded veteran whose best work takes place on the mat, where he’s racked up an impressive 27 finishes via submission from 35 career wins. Meanwhile he’s a decent striker on the outside, but he can come under threat from heavier hitters. However, he counters that by working for clinch opportunities or swooping for a takedown, at which point he’s very hard to deal with.

Barberena will try to make Meerschaert uncomfortable on the feet and look to test his chin, but he’s fought bigger, harder-hitting foes in the past and I think ‘GM3’ will use his opponent’s forward momentum and weak takedown defense against him to get this fight to the mat and lock in an early submission finish.

Pick: Gerald Meerschaer wins by submission in Rd1.

Christian Rodriguez vs. Isaac Dulgarian

Christian Rodriguez is on a three-fight winning streak as he prepares to lock horns with Isaac Dulgarian, who earned a 1st round TKO victory in his UFC debut.

The 26-year-old Rodriguez’s solid run in the UFC lately included handing young prospect Raul Rosas Jr his first loss, but taking the shine of his performances is the fact that he’s failed to make weight a couple of times and so he’s moved up to 145lbs for this fight. He operates best as a pressure-based boxer who has good cardio over three rounds and has proven to be a composed fighter both on the feet and on the mat, where he tends to be able to work his way back to his feet more often than not.

The 27-year-old Dulgarian is only six fights into his MMA career, but has made a good impression so far, even finishing all his opponents to date inside the first round. He benefits from being a strong wrestler and he’s not the sort of fighter to just lay-and-pray as he has ruthless ground-and-pound and will also look for submissions at times once he has his opponent vulnerable on the mat. with so few fights to go on though it still remains to be seen how he’ll cope against more challenging fighters who can take him beyond the first five minutes.

I’d expect Rodriguez to be looking to replicate his success against Rosas Jr here by staying calm under pressure early and then turning the screw later in the fight. However I think Dulgarian’s stronger wrestling is going to enable him to gain more control over the fight when it hits the mat here. Rodriguez seems like the kind of fighter that can survive some tough spots though, so I think Dulgarian will have to settle into a more measured pace as the fight goes on his way to securing his first ever decision win.

Pick: Isaac Dulgarian wins by decision.

Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)

Natan Levy vs. Mike Davis
Josiane Nunes vs. Chelsea Chandler
Jafel Filho vs. Ode Osbourne
Jaqueline Amorim vs. Cory McKenna
Joshua Culibao vs. Danny Silva
Charalampos Grigoriou vs. Chad Anheliger

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.